THE TRUTH ABOUT BLACK HISTORY MONTH
(AND WHY IT MATTERS MORE THAN EVER)

By January 29, 2021October 5th, 2021General

Today begins National Black History Month – a month set aside every year to pay special attention to the significant contributions Black Americans have made in every field of human endeavor including science, engineering, mathematics, technology, theology, arts, literature, athletics, politics and our economy. Black History Month is also a time to set the record straight that Black Americans remain at the heart of the American story. To put it simply, Black history is American history.

The Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month actually started as Black History Week in 1926 by journalist and historian Carter G. Woodson. Recognized as the “Father of Black History”, Woodson, the son of slaves, believed that equality of the races was only possible with an understanding of history. Woodson had hoped that once Americans were educated, Black history would no longer be necessary. Clearly, we still have a long way to go on that front. Today our country is undergoing a national reckoning about racial injustice after a national uprising began in May to protest the killing of George Floyd.

Black History. White Lies.

As a nation we tend to think of ourselves as an ethic melting pot, but the truth is, the ethnic and racial divisions in this country is deeply ingrained. The yearly ritual of Black History Month strips away the illusions of this national myth (for those who are willing to look) and invites us to deepen our understanding of the struggles and triumphs of our Black American brothers and sisters.

Woodson got it right. It is only through clear-eyed understanding of history that our nation can live up to its ideal of equality and justice for all.

For “must see” Black History Month programming check out the PBS February lineup   http://www.pbs.org/black-culture/explore/black-history-month-facts-and-films/

In the meantime… have a little fun testing your knowledge of Black history. Take the quiz!

1.   WHAT IS ROSA PARKS FAMOUS FOR?

  1. A. Marching with Martin Luther King in Selma
  2. B. Refusing to give up her seat for a white passenger on a segregated bus
  3. C. Becoming the first Black US senator
  4. D. Being the first African American to win an Oscar

2. WHO WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO BE HONORED WITH A NATIONAL HOLIDAY?

  1. A. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
  2. B. JOSEPHINE BAKER
  3. C. HARRIET TUBMAN
  4. D. THURGOOD MARSHALL

3.  WHICH PRESIDENT OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED BLACK HISTORY MONTH?

  1. A. JIMMY CARTER
  2. B. RIDHCARD NIXON
  3. C. GERALD FORD
  4. D. RONALD REAGAN

4.  WHAT IS THE 2021 BLACK HISTORY MONTH THEME?

  1. A. AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE VOTE
  2. B. THE BLACK FAMILY
  3. C. THE CRISIS IN BLACK EDUCATION
  4. D. CIVIL RIGHTS IN AMERICA

5.  WHEN DID ROSA PARKS’ BUS BOYCOTT HAPPEN?

  1. A. SEPTEMBER 1955
  2. B. JANUARY 1958
  3. C. DECEMBER 1955
  4. D. NOVEMBER 1956

6.  WHY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATED IN FEBRUARY?

  1. A. THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT WAS PASSED IN FEBRUARY
  2. B. IT COINCIDES WITH THE BIRTHDAYS OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND ABRAHAM LINCOLN
  3. C. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.’S BIRTHDAY IS IN FEBRUARY

7.  WHO WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN APPOINTED TO THE US SUPREME COURT?

  1. A. SONIA SOTOMAYOR
  2. B. CLARENCE THOMAS
  3. C. CONDOLEEZZA RICE
  4. D. THURGOOD MARSHALL

8.  WHO SAID, “IF NOT US, THEN WHO? IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN”?

  1. A. JACKIE ROBINSON
  2. B. BARACK OBAMA
  3. C. JOHN LEWIS
  4. D. THURGOOD MARSHALL

9.  WHO WAS GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER?

  1. A. A FOUNDING FATHER
  2. B. A POLITICAL ACTIVIST
  3. C. A SCIENTIST
  4. D. THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN SURGEON

10.  WHICH OF THESE HONORS WAS MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. NOT AWARDED?

  1. A. NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
  2. B. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
  3. C. PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM
  4. D. THE FREEDOM AWARD

11. IN WHAT CITY DID THE NATIONAL GUARD TRY TO PREVENT NINE BLACK STUDENTS FROM ATTENDING A SEGREGATED SCHOOL IN 1957?

  1. A. OXFORD, MISS.
  2. B. COLUMBIA S.C.
  3. C. LITTLE RICH, ARK.
  4. D. TUSCALOOSA, ALA.

12. INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE WAS ILLEGAL UNTIL:

  1. A. 1788
  2. B. 1882
  3. C. 1985
  4. D. 1967

13.  THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE NETHERLANDS CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN:

  1. A. FEBRUARY
  2. B. OCTOBER
  3. C. NOVEMBER

14.  WHO SURVIVED THREE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS DURING HER 1972 CAMPAIGN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION?

  1. A. SHIRLEY CHISHOLM
  2. B. MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE
  3. C. HATTIE MCDANIEL

15.  THE FIRST DOCUMENTED AFRICAN SLAVES ARRIVED IN THE UNITED STATES IN WHAT YEAR?

  1. A. 1619
  2. B. 1679
  3. C. 1545
  4. D. 1745

ANSWER KEY:

1(B); 2(A); 3(C); 4(B); (5C); 6(B); 7(D); 8(C); 9(C); 10(D); 11(C); 12(D); 13(B); 14(A); 15(A)